Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mladic, be a man and take responsibility

Finally Mladic has been caught. And now we will see his process. If the processes of Milosevic and Karadzic are any guide it may be once again a disappointment for people who expect anything new.

Yet I think there should be. Milosevic and Karadzic were responsible for policies that took many unnecessary lives. But it is hard to find an optimal policy - Bush's policies in Iraq took many unnecessary lives too - and they might see reasons why it is in the interest of Serbia and the Serbs to be economical with the truth.

However, I can't see such a reason for Mladic when it comes to the Srebrenica massacre. Even if he didn't order it and wasn't aware of it until after it happened - what is very unlikely - he still would be responsible as the highest commander. It would fit him as a man to take that responsibility - however painful.

Mladic owes not only an apology to the Muslims. The mass murder also harmed the Serbs. It was a major strategic blunder that gave the Serb cause a bad name, made any further Serb conquest (Bihac?) internationally unacceptable and may well have led to the fall of the Krajna.

When he was commander in Bosnia Mladic had the image of being a brave man who didn't evade his responsibilities. Now he faces the ultimate test of his bravery. For his fate it won't make much difference: given his health it looks unlikely that he will ever again be a free man no matter what he does.

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